The Soviet Young Pioneer program was a school-based program. And of course as all Soviet schools were state schools with private schools prohibited, this mean that that it was government controlled program. Unlike Scouting which emphasized the family, Pioneers were built around the school and parents did not have a role in the program or other institutions such as churches and community groups. In fact, the Pioneer's greatest here was a boy who turned his parents in to the police. And of course part of the ideology taught was the atheism of the Soviet state. Schools were used by the Pioneer program as part ofa ready-made way of ensureing mass participation. Each school had a Pioneer Room. This room was separate from the school program and devoted exclusively to the Pioneer program. The school Pioneer banner as well as posters and other valuable items were stored. Pioneer leaders would hold meetings called councils or conferences here. We do not yet know much about the Young Pioneer meetings. They were held at school. I'm not sure if they began my full school ceremonies, but the basic meeting was held in classrooms because the basic Pioneer unit was the school class. I assume that on Pioneer meeting day that the children wore their Pioneer uniforms rather than their school uniform.
The Soviet Young Pioneers were a Government financed, school-based youth program. The children joined the Young Pioneers at school and the programm activites were conducted or organized at school. There were activities outside of school such as summer camp, but the children often attended the camp in school groups. The principal out of school sctivity was special activities in Pioneer palaces set up in the major cities. The children may have needed school recomendations to take advantage of the facilities there. ThePioneer fulfilled many functins at school such as helping to discipline the students and promote good conduct. A special room was reserved in each Soviet school for the Pioneers, bith to hold meetings and to store banners and equipment.
Baden Powell's Boy Scouts was used as a protype for the Young Pioneers. The ethos of the pioneers followed many precepts of the Scouts such as loyalty, honesty, be prepared, ect. but the precepts of citzenship taught were quite different. The Scouts always tried to involve the family and stressed a boy's responsibilities in it. The Pioneers, however, were a state organ designed to instill a child's duty to the State and to help ensure his socialization was not contaminated by parents not committed to the Socialist ideal. the best example of this is Pavlik Morozov 1918(?)-1932(?), the mosdt famous pioneer of all time. Pavlik was supposedly killed by "kulak" (wealthy peasants who resisted collectivization) relatives for denouncing his father to Stalin's secret police (OGPU-NKVD). He was adopted as a patron saint by the "Young Pioneers". It is incoceivable of a British or American boy being so honored by the Scouts. The ideological component may have changed over time. A Russian reader believes that the Pioneers are poorly understood in the West, he comments, "Special communistic Ideology was not a major component of the Pioneers as is commonly accepted in the West. What was emphasized was patriotic education."
The Communist Party insisted on controlling all organizations involving children. As a result, while using the Scouts as a prototype, they outlawed the Scouts. Adults trying organize Scout groups received prison sentences. As rescently as the 1990s, Soviet Police were preventing the organization of Scout groups. Organizers report being harassed and actually physically attacked. For details see the individual Scout country pages: Ukraine.
We still have only limited information on Soviet school uniforms. We note school children wearing school uniforms in the earliest years of the Soviet Union. These uniforms seem especially prevalent in the cities. Children in the country side because of the widespread poverty may not have worn the inifotm as commonly. Presumably as conditiins improved after World War II (1939-45), wearing the perscribed school uniform became common place throughout the country.
Each school had a Pioneer Room. This room was separate from the school program and devoted exclusively to the Pioneer program. Pioneer ceremonies were head here. The school Pioneer banner as well as posters and other valuable items were stored. Pioneer leaders would hold meetings called councils or conferences here.
School Pioner units also stored collections and Pioneer documents like rules in the Pioneer room. The Pioneer leader would in solemn momments be the standard-bearer who always bore this flag in front of the force during meetings in the Pionee room. In YP terminology all school groups were "Druzhina" (squad), and each class was "Otryad" (troop) in this school squad. Each troop had its own flag, and all those flags were kept in a special stand in the Pioneer Room. Drums, buggles, and a big flag of all Druzhina were also kept there. The Piooneer Room was used for ceremonies like induction of new members.
We do not yet know much about the Young Pioneer meetings. They were held at school. I'm not sure if they began my full school ceremonies, but the basic meeting was held in classrooms because the basic Pioneer unit was the school class. I assume that on Pioneer meeting day that the children wore their Pioneer uniforms rather than their school uniform. I do not yet know just what the actual meeting consisted of in terms of actual activities. The Pioneer motto was "is always finished!". Any Pioneer meeting or event always concluded with the call of leader "young pioneers! To the fight for the affair of the Communist Party you be finished!" And all pioneers members anwered: "Vsegda they were finished!" and in this case returned pioneer salute after raising right hand naiskosok bent in the elbow scarcely higher the level of head. This pioneer salute can be seen on a HBU page.
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